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Studio Chief and Producer John Calley Dies at 81

Former Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and CEO John
Calley passed away Tuesday at the age of 81, after a long battle with cancer.

Calley's 50-year career includes time at production company
Filmways, where he produced the film Catch-22
, and his nearly 10-year tenure at Warner Bros., serving as production chief,
president and vice chairman. While at Warner Bros., he worked on movies including
The Exorcist, Dirty Harry, A Clockwork Orange
, All the President's Men and Superman.  

Calley joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists as
president and COO for three years before moving to Sony Pictures, where he was
named president of the Culver City studio in 1996. He was promoted to chairman
and CEO in 1998, working on films such as Men
in Black
and Spider-Man before
his retirement in 2003.

He received the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts &
Sciences' Irving G. Thalberg Award in 2009.

"John was unique. As a friend he was always there and
always funny. He made life a joy for those he loved," said Mike Nichols,
director, Catch-22. "As a studio
head he was unfailingly supportive and didn't try to do the filmmaker's
job. When he believed in someone he trusted and supported him and when
very rarely he had a suggestion it was usually a life saver. In fact, that's
what he was: a life saver."

Memorial arrangements are being made and will be held at Sony Pictures Studios.